Last Updated on October 31, 2020 by Julia Wilson
Visit any pet store and you will see a vast array of litter trays. From the simple rectangular type (pictured left) to the elaborate. From personal experience, I have found the simpler the litter tray, the better.
The litter tray must be easy to get in and out of and be large enough for your cat to comfortably stand in. Litter trays should be made of strong and durable plastic. They will need to withstand contact with urine, feces, cat claws, hot water, and disinfectants.
How many litter trays do I need?
The recommendation is one tray per cat, plus one spare. But again, this comes down to space and personal preference. You should not have several cats sharing the same litter tray, though. If you live in a multi-level home, have at least one tray on each level. Nobody likes a dirty toilet, and that includes cats.
Read here for information on types of cat litter.
Cat litter tray size
As a rule, the litter tray should be 1.5 times longer than the cat from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.
Plain litter tray
The cheapest type of litter tray. It is recommended you start out with this type of litter tray if you are bringing home a kitten (you can get small ones with lower sides), and see how you and your cat like it. Advantages are that this type of litter tray is cheap, readily available and easy to clean out.
Plain litter tray with lip
I like this style, they are still cheap to buy and easy to get in and out of, but the lip helps to contain the litter.
Large plastic tub
Not a litter tray but a good option. They are cheap to buy, readily available and have high enough sides that once your cat has hopped in, and keep litter contained.
Some people choose to cut a hole in the lid, others just remove the lid entirely.
Litter tray with dish
Another inexpensive option. The litter goes into the top tray and when the cat goes to the toilet, the liquid flows down to the bottom tray. Reduce odours by giving the bottom tray a quick hose daily.
Recycled wood pellets or corn litter are the best types of cat litter for this tray.
Covered litter tray
This type of tray is good for privacy (some cats prefer to go to the toilet without an audience, some don’t care). Again, these litter trays are relatively inexpensive.
Self-cleaning litter tray
This is a relative newcomer to the market. The self-cleaning litter tray comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. A few minutes after your cat has used the litter tray, a rake moves along the cat litter removing the urine and feces into a tray. Obviously, despite the name, the tray does require the removal of urine and feces every few days but is a popular choice for cat owners.
These types of litter tray come with or without hoods, I have seen one with a counter so that you can keep tabs on how often your cat is using the litter tray.
Hidden litter trays
This type of litter tray is built into furniture to provide your cat with privacy. They can be bought from specialist stores or custom made by a cabinet maker.